Drug Information

Finding Prescription Drug Information Online

When you or someone in your household is prescribed medication, you may have all kinds of questions about what it is used for, how it works, proper usage, how it interacts with other drugs, how addictive it is, what to do in the event of accidental ingestion or overdose, and more. While much of this information is included in the literature provided by the pharmacy, and your pharmacist can provide you with additional information and answer many of your questions, you can also refer to the vast repository of online information provided by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Library of Medicine (NLM).

The NLM Drug Information Portal is a valuable resource that allows you to search for information about drugs by name or by category. The database is composed of more than 49,000 drugs, with information compiled by NLM and other government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The database includes drugs in clinical trials, drugs sold in the U.S., and, to an extent, drugs from other countries.

With this resource, you can read summaries about approved usage and efficacy of a drug, as well as literature regarding toxicology (TOXLINE) and medical research (PubMed). In some cases, you will have to click additional links to learn more, but you can start with summaries from MedlinePlus and other resources that are easy to read and understand.

You can search for drugs by trade or generic names, and the search tool will auto-populate suggestions that are an exact or, in some cases, a close match, in case you make a spelling error or there are multiple entries for the name/category you have entered. All you have to do is select the appropriate drug from the list to be redirected to a page featuring information, along with links to more in-depth literature.